How to Cook Rice over Stovetop

Properly cooked rice is essential to a good Asian meal. Rice goes with almost every dish, even standing on its own as an entree. To make perfectly cooked rice, just follow these easy steps:

cooked rice

Step 1: Choose a trusted brand, because not all rice are created equal. We recommend visiting an Asian grocer to select the brands they carry. Or if you don’t have one nearby, Costco carries some good brands.

Step 2: Use a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. For this how-to, we used 1 cup dry rice to 2 cups water.

Step 3: Rinse the rice. There are two schools of thought here, but this advice has been passed down to us from many mothers and grandmothers. Rinsing rice removes some of the starch and other particles, as well as the talc that is sometimes used in processing.

cooked rice

Step 4: Pour rinsed rice and water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil on high heat. (Use a saucepan that will be large enough for cooked rice. Expect the rice to expand about 3 times when cooked.)

cooked rice

Step 5: Once the pot begins to boil, cover it with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer on low for 20 minutes, then check it. Trying not to let too much steam escape, quickly lift the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and taste a grain. It should be soft, all the way through when it’s done, but not yet mushy. If the center is still crunchy, keep cooking and check again in a few minutes. When cooking rice, try not to check it too often. Every time you open the lid you’re letting out water and heat that are supposed to be cooking your rice. If it is very nearly done, don’t return it to heat. Just replace the lid, remove it from heat, and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak up that last bit of moisture. One final bit of advice: don’t add more water to the pot unless it’s bone dry and the rice is still hard in the center – it’s easy to mess up and make it soggy if you add more water than you need to.

Thai Eggplant with Ground Pork

Enjoy your perfectly cooked rice! Perhaps as a side dish to Thai Eggplant with Ground Pork, or as an entree, try Chinese Chicken Fried Rice.

chinese chicken fried rice

Her Father’s Legacy

Sidney Le is a passionate, hard-working young woman with a purpose. Five months ago, she and her boyfriend, Andy Dao, opened Bamboo Basil, a Vietnamese restaurant featuring modern takes on authentic dishes passed down from her mother and father. Sidney appears to have been in the restaurant business forever; she moves easily about, from the kitchen to the tables, chatting up clients, pouring drinks. So I was surprised to hear her story.

Sidney grilling buttered beef and shrimp for make-it-yourself spring rolls.

Two years ago, her father (a chef for over 20 years) passed away unexpectedly. She recalls his dream to open a restaurant of his own one day. At the time, Sidney and her brother were living outside California. With the passing of their father, Sidney notes, “My brother stepped up and saved the family.” Her brother and the family worked together to open a Vietnamese pho restaurant in honor of their father and aptly named it Pho Le (her father’s last name). Now, almost two years later, Pho Le is a well-known institution in Elk Grove, with lines out the door for their famous bun rieu and bon bo hue.

Buttered beef and shrimp on the tabletop grill
Charbroiled pork and rice
Chicken salad

Today, Sidney is continuing her father’s legacy with Bamboo Basil. The menu at Bamboo Basil reflects Sidney’s journey. The authentic northern Vietnamese dishes, like pho and lemongrass chicken, pay homage to her father’s hometown; the special red garlic sauce brings in Andy’s family’s influences; and the modern take on buttered beef spring rolls, served family-style on a tabletop grill, showcases Sidney’s sense of fun and creativity.

Bamboo Basil’s special sauces

Only five months old, Bamboo Basil is already steeped in tradition with the outlook of a bright future.

Restaurant Details
Location: 1301 W Lockeford Street, Suite D in Lodi, CA
Phone: (209) 625-8566
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 am – 9 pm, Sunday 11 am – 8 pm
Dishes Pictured: Buttered beef and shrimp spring rolls (Grill it Yourself Platter); Charbroiled pork and rice; Chicken salad; and Bamboo Basil’s special sauces.
Facebook Page: Bamboo Basil

Sydney and her boyfriend, Andy

Most Authentic Restaurants


We’re creating a list of the most authentic Asian dishes at restaurants across the globe. For example, where is the most authentic chili crab in San Francisco? Where can you find the best Shanghai dumplings in New York?

Do you have a restaurant that you would like us to consider? If so, email us at or sign up for our newsletter to get first look at The Asia Dish List!

Guide to Having Pho Your Way

In “How to Eat Pho,” we consulted experts on how to eat pho the right way. In this article, we’ll guide you through the condiments – what they are, how they affect the flavor, and how to work them so you can have pho your way.

Condiments vary from restaurant to restaurant. Pho purists from Northern Vietnam typically offer few condiments. They believe there’s a “certain beauty in the purity,” according to Andrea Nguyen of the award-winning cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Pho from Southern Vietnam comes with a variety of condiments, as their cuisine is more influenced by surrounding countries such as Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
There is no correct order to adding condiments. Cuong Huynh of advises trying different flavor combinations and mixing up the order until you find the bowl that’s right for you.

Here are the typical condiments you’ll find at a Vietnamese restaurant and how to use them:

  • Fish sauce:  Add to your pho if it’s a little bland or needs salt.

  • Lime wedges:  Squeeze into your bowl if the broth is too sweet, or if you want to balance out the saltiness with tartness.

  • Fresh Hot Chiles:   Dip them in your broth or leave them in to spice up the broth.

  • Bean Sprouts:   Sprinkle them into your bowl for crunch and texture.

  • Herbs:   Typical herbs include Thai basil, culantro (a relative of cilantro, pictured above) and spearmint. Strip them from stems and tear the leaves, then add them to your bowl as you go. Experiment by adding different herbs at different times and taste how each herb changes your pho.

  • Sauces:   These include hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot sauce. There are two schools of thought on how to add sauce. Purists frown upon adding them to an already well crafted, nuanced broth. They suggest creating a side dish and dipping for extra flavor. Others recommend adding these sauces directly to the broth to change its flavor.

Whatever you add to your pho, have fun and experiment with finding a bowl of pho that’s perfectly suited for you!

Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes Giveaway

Thanks to, our winner is Lynn! Check back again Wednesday as we announce our 3rd giveaway!

Our second giveaway in our 5 Giveaways in 5 Weeks launch is a set of cupcake mixes from Sprinkles, the beloved cupcake shop in Beverly Hills. These mixes include the “dots” to finish the cupcakes, which come in Chocolate, Red Velvet, Vanilla, Banana and Lemon flavors. The mixes are made from premium all-natural ingredients such as Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. Each package includes a mix packet, frosting recipe and Sprinkles’ signature modern “dots” for decorating each cupcake.

To enter, just comment on the “How to Eat Pho” post and tell us, “How do you eat your pho?” Bonus points for “liking” us on Facebook. All the official stuff below:

PRIZE: Sprinkles cupcake mixes (includes mix packet, frosting recipe and Sprinkles’ signature modern “dots” for decorating each cupcake). 15–16.2 oz (makes 12 cupcakes).
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Sunday, April 22nd at 9:00 P.M. PST
PRIZE SHIPS: To the 48 U.S. states (excluding Hawaii and Alaska)
RULES: One entry per person. The winner will be selected using and announced next Monday (4/23) as an update on this post.

Best of luck!

How to Eat Pho

There is no wrong way to eat pho. But according to pho experts, there is definitely a right way to enjoy this delicious bowl of noodles. We consulted Vietnamese food experts Andrea Nguyen of the award-winning cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Cuong Huynh of and Tom Huynh, a self-professed pho purist, to find the proper way to eat pho. So next time you’re at a pho restaurant, you don’t have to look like a newbie. (You still can but at least now you’ll know why.)

Here’s our no-fail guide to eating pho – the right way.

1.  Pick your pho. This can be chicken, beef, meatballs or a combination of everything. As Andrea Nguyen says, pho is a “have-it-your-way” experience. There’s a bowl of pho for everyone. Find yours.

2.  Appreciate the broth. Take in the fragrance, taste the broth, and do not add condiments just yet! A bowl of pho is a chef’s work of art. As Cuong Huynh notes, this process “helps you appreciate [the] poetry in a bowl.“ So before adding anything, taste the broth, then decide if you prefer something different. But “Please, for goodness sake, do not add sugar to your bowl. It’s sacrilegious,” pleads Tom Huynh.

3.  Dig in, or change it up. If you like the pho as-is, dig in – chopsticks in one hand, soup spoon in the other. Otherwise, add condiments and sauces slowly. Taste how each addition changes the broth. Consider adding condiments as you go; for example, tear some Thai basil into the broth in the beginning, then midway and finally, as you finish your bowl of pho. Not sure how to work the condiments? Check out our Guide to Having Pho Your Way!

How do you eat your pho? Do you enjoy the broth as-is or do you add condiments? How do you make it yours? Comment below and enter to win Sprinkles cupcake mixes!

Lost Recipes Collection

Young woman from the Mienh tribe of Southeast Asia, preparing for a traditional dance.

The social goal of Asia Dish is to document, preserve and bring awareness to indigenous cultures by sharing their recipes online. We believe this will help curb culture loss, as thousands of languages and cultures (an estimated 3,300 to 6,000 of the 6,700 in existence today) are expected to disappear in our lifetime. Our Lost Recipes Collection tells the stories of these indigenous tribes through their food. Click here for the Lost Recipes Collection.

Our vision looks something like this:

A woman from the Akha tribe, Lisu, searches for a traditional Akha pork dish in Google. She clicks on a link to Asia Dish. She finds the recipe she’s looking for, complete with photos and a how-to video. Lisu is surprised to find other Akha women from all over the globe contributing recipes to the website, and engaging with each other. Lisu decides to add her recipes to Asia Dish and promptly tells her friends about the website.

Meanwhile, an American woman, Mary, searches for Phad Thai noodles in Google and happens upon Asia Dish. She finds the Phad Thai recipe she’s looking for, then sees suggestions for other noodle dishes she might like. She recognizes a few but there are many she hasn’t heard of before. She clicks on an “Akha” noodle dish, then clicks on another link to learn more about the Akha. Her curiosity is piqued and she decides to add an Akha noodle recipe to her Asia Dish recipe box. She sends a thank-you message to the woman who posted the recipe, Lisu. Mary cannot wait to tell her cooking group about this new recipe and share her newfound knowledge.

Thank you for reading. We would love it if you could help us spread the word by “sharing” our link below and “liking” us on Facebook!

5 Giveaways in 5 Weeks!

Thanks to, our winner is Kathleen Conner! Check back again Monday as we announce our 2nd giveaway!

To kick off our launch, we’re doing 5 Giveaways in 5 Weeks! Our first giveway is an Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Food Scale. We love that it’s fun and functional, and you can measure food, flour, liquids and bake Asian desserts that use grams (like this yummy egg tart recipe!).

To enter, just comment on this post and tell us, “What is your favorite Asian dish? And what do you like about it?” Bonus points for “liking” us on Facebook and posting a new comment each day (if you have multiple favorite dishes). All the official stuff below:

PRIZE: Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Food Scale
TO ENTER: Comment on this post and tell us, “What is your favorite Asian dish? And what do you like about it?”
BONUS POINTS: It would be great if you “like” us on Facebook! ( and post a new comment each day if you have multiple favorite dishes.
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, April 11th at 12 A.M. midnight PST
PRIZE SHIPS: To the 50 U.S. states
RULES: One entry per day per e-mail address. The winner will be selected using and announced next Thursday (4/12) as an update on this post.

Best of luck!

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About Us

The Idea

Asia Dish is an online community where members share and discover authentic and creative Asian recipes. We’re on a mission to curate the best collection of Asian recipes in the world. We connect each recipe to a person, a culture, a memory, or a meaning. We believe recipes tell stories, and a shared love of food can bring together individuals to form a community.

Our recipe collection is curated slowly and purposefully – we connect online with bloggers, offline with cooks, and in the restaurants of chefs. At the heart of Asia Dish are our wonderful members.

The Purpose

The social goal of Asia Dish is to document, preserve, and bring awareness to endangered cultures by sharing their recipes online. We believe in curbing culture loss, as thousands of languages and cultures (an estimated 3,300 to 6,000 of the 6,700 languages spoken) are expected to disappear in our lifetime. This extremely fast rate of loss means that entire ways of thinking, being, and knowing are disappearing, and local knowledge, identity, and diverse intellectual wealth are being erased. Many indigenous cultures struggle to retain their language and culture in the face of growing economic development and globalization. We think there’s hope in retaining and passing on culture through food.

Our vision looks something like this:

A woman from the Akha tribe, Lisu, searches for a traditional Akha pork dish in Google. She clicks on a link to Asia Dish. She finds the recipe she’s looking for, complete with photos and a how-to video. Lisu is surprised to find other Akha women from all over the globe contributing recipes to the website, and engaging with each other. Lisu decides to add her recipes to Asia Dish and promptly tells her friends about the website.

Meanwhile, an American woman, Mary, searches for Phad Thai noodles in Google and happens upon Asia Dish. She finds the Phad Thai recipe she’s looking for, then sees suggestions for other noodle dishes she might like. She recognizes a few but there are many she hasn’t heard of before. She clicks on an “Akha” noodle dish, then clicks on another link to learn more about the Akha. Her curiosity is piqued and she decides to add an Akha noodle recipe to her Asia Dish recipe box. She sends a thank-you message to the woman who posted the recipe, Lisu. Mary cannot wait to tell her cooking group about this new recipe and share her newfound knowledge.

The Team

Fahm Saeteurn – Food has always played an important role in Fahm’s life. Growing up, her family didn’t have much but her parents made sure to put dinner on the table every night and eat together as a family. Food, cooking and eating became a symbol for togetherness, connection and hope.

Today, Fahm passes down family stories and cultural traditions to her nieces and nephews by baking and cooking together. In her spare time, she likes making desserts with her husband, an avid cook, and photographing their food adventures.

Muey Saetern – Muey grew up in a family that loves food. Her parents farmed and processed strawberries throughout her childhood and later opened a Thai restaurant of their own. Muey spent three years operating the restaurant alongside her parents and siblings, playing multiple roles including hostess and chef. Today, she pursues cooking as a hobby and loves to dine out with friends and family.


Tom Huynh – Tom associates many of his best memories to the times when his mom cooked elaborate family meals. Today, his sister is the cook of the family; she re-creates their mom’s most famous dishes and comes up with her own versions of traditional favorites. Throughout it all, Tom captures these memories with his camera and turns them into beautiful and meaningful works of art.

Lost Recipes: Mienh

Brief History & Food

The Mienh (also known as the Iu-Mien or Yao) are a hill tribe of subsistence farmers located throughout Southeast Asia (primarily Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Southern China). In the late 1970′s, large groups of the Mienh fled the Vietnam War and Laos Civil War and landed in the refugee camps of Thailand. From there, they dispersed – some back to Laos, and others to the United States and France. A longer history of the Mienh is presented below.

Mienh food is passed down from one generation to the next, and dishes are also partially influenced by the cuisine of the dominant country. For example, the Mienh in Laos use similar herbs as Laotians (lemongrass, dill, chili peppers) and they prepare both steamed rice and Laotian-style sticky rice. In the United States, the Mienh have adapted multiple cuisines to create unique, one-of-a-kind dishes; for example, this Festive Pork Meatloaf Salad.

We recommend trying these unique dishes from the Mienh:

Curry Seabass aka Fish

Bitter Melon & Eggs

Red Hot Chili Dipping Sauce

Longer History of the Mienh

The early history of the Iu-Mien (Yao) is obscure and unclear. Much of it has been passed down through oral myths and legends, for few written historical records exist. The available records were written by the Han Chinese, and while they offer important glimpses into early Yao history, perhaps these records raise more questions than it answers.

The Yao have been traced to around 220 A.D. as belonging to one of many groups categorized under the term Nanman, which translates to southern barbarian. Nanman is one of two categories assigned to the people of the South, for those who lived in present-day Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Human, and eastern Guizhou. The actual first reference to the term “Yao” appeared during the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.) in the expression moyao, usually translated as “not subject to corvee labor.” Many scholars have attempted to link this expression to the present-day Yao, implying that those historically not subject to compulsory labor are the Yao’s direct ancestors. However, in an influential work on early Yao publications, Cushman convincingly argues that there is not enough evidence to support this link. The term moyao has only appeared in five sources, and there is no indication that it refers to a particular ethnic group. Furthermore, no one has been able to explain the shortening of moyao to Yao.

Other historical references to the Yao point to “tribal uprisings.” The first uprisings were reported during the rule of the Song emperor Renzong (1023-1064 AD), as due to either the Yao’s refusal to pay taxes or their attempts to reclaim confiscated land. This portrayal of resistance is present in all records, and as pointed out by Litzinger, the Han’s failure to assimilate the Yao into its cultural and political order was often blamed on the Yao’s stupidity, backwardness, and stubbornness, and not on the adminitration’s inadequacies.

The first major southward migration of the Yao to Vietnam is reported to occur between the 17th and 18th century. It wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th century that the Yao migrated into Laos, Burma, and Thailand. The cause of these migrations were reported as being due to Han enroachments, Yao’s refusal to pay taxes, and the search for new land because of droughts.

An Origin Myth

A popular legend about Yao origin can be found on scrolls written in Chinese, called “King Ping’s Charter.” The legend tells of P’an Hu, a multi-colored dog who married a Chinese princess. According to the myth, the Chinese emperor King P’ing of the Ch’u Kingdom (528-516 B.C.) promised to give one of his daughters in marriage to anyone who could rid him of his enemy, King Kao. A multi-colored dog named P’an Hu succeeded, brought back King Kao’s head, and married the princess, giving birth to six sons and six daughters. The twelve children are said to be the forefathers of the twelve Yao tribes.

After China

Many Yao settled in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma after their southward migration in the 17th through 20th centuries. For the purposes of this paper, the Iu-Mien of Laos and Thailand will be the focus and discussed more thoroughly. In Thailand and Laos, the Iu-Mien practiced slash and burn agriculture, also known as shifting cultivation, which involved moving to new land once every decade.

In the 1960′s and 1970′s, Laos got engulfed in the Vietnam War. When the United States intervened to support anti-communist forces in the early 1960′s, they contracted for help from the hill tribes of Laos. Like many other hill tribes, the Iu-Mien got involved and engaged in guerrilla warfare, providing the United States with intelligence, surveillance, and armed manpower. When the Vietnam War ended in 1975 and communist forces were victorious, the Iu-Mien began fleeing the new Pathet Lao government. More than seventy percent of the Iu-Mien population fled to Thailand, escaping through the jungle and across the Mekong. Once they arrived in Thailand, they were resettled in refugee camps. They received food and supplies from other nations and the United Nations Organization. After several years, the United States returned to fulfill their contract made with the ethnic minorities. They offered a refugee rescue program, which gave the Iu-Mien and other groups the choice to resettle in the United States.

Resettlement, Identity, and Links

The first significant group of Iu-Mien arrivals came during the late 1970′s. After resettling, the Iu-Mien faced numerous obstacles. Moving from a non-industrial, slash and burn economy, to the industrialized, post-modern United States made adjustment extremely difficult. Problems existed in all areas, from language and customs to religion and power structures. Since their arrival, the Iu-Mien language has been slowly disappearing. A majority of third generation Iu-Mien are fluent in English but cannot converse in Mienh. Many Iu-Mien have abandoned the Taoist/Animist religion and converted to Christianity. Gender and power relations are in flux, as authority is no longer centered around the oldest male. Many changes have taken place during the last 25 years. It has been argued that “traditional” Iu-Mien culture will disappear in a matter of decades and ethnic identity will diminish.

While the claims are valid to a certain degree, there is hope. Numerous organizations are being formed to promote ethnic consciousness and education. The Iu-Mien are graduating from universities, starting their own businesses, entering diverse professions, and perhaps most importantly, are giving back to their communities.

Interestingly, ethnic identity is maintained and heightened in other ways. Tracing roots and history has been an important element in fostering an Iu-Mien identity. Since arriving in the United States, some Iu-Mien leaders have made contact with the Mien Yao of China, who number about 880,000 while the United States Iu-Mien number around 30,000. Videotapes are made of these adventures to the “homeland” and are sold and distributed throughout different Iu-Mien communities. A large number of Iu-Mien have revisited relatives in Thailand and Laos, and many keep in touch with relatives in other parts of the world, such as in France and Canada. Ethnic identity is also heightened due to new year celebrations. At new year celebrations, “traditional” culture is performed and played out both on and off-stage. Participants celebrate their “Mienhness” and in the process, create and maintain a shared ethnic identity.

Perhaps in the near future, when the Iu-Mien have had more time to adjust to life in the United States, Iu-Mien ethnic identity and awareness will become more important and stronger. This could lead to the possibility of establishing a pan-ethnic identity with the Iu-Mien throughout the world.

For more information about the Mienh, we recommend and

Winner – Pilot Giveaway

Hello everyone,

This is a quick update to announce the winner of the Pilot Giveaway. Based on the random number generator, the winners are ChineseCook and Kerina. Congratulations to both, and thank you all for visiting and participating!

Pilot Giveaway

First of all, a big THANK YOU to all of you for checking out Asia Dish and for your valuable feedback. We truly appreciate your support. As we mentioned last week, we’re offering our pilot members the opportunity to participate in our first giveaway.

$25 Safeway & $10 Starbucks Gift Cards

To show our thanks, we’re awarding two lucky members with gift cards to Safeway (or grocery store of winner’s choice) and Starbucks. Your chances of winning increase by getting:

• 10 points for submitting a recipe (previously submitted recipes count)
• 2 points for uploading an ingredient
• 2 points for subscribing to our YouTube channel
• 1 point per comment on any published recipe
• 1 point for being a registered member

We’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner. Contest ends in two weeks, on 1/30. Best of luck!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Cold Weather Favorites

As the weather turns chilly outside, we love staying in with family and friends to cook and eat together. Here are some of our party favorites to get through the winter.

We like starting with soup, and Stella’s hot and sour soup is a light way to start the meal. During food prep, we love snacking on shrimp crackers. Cyndi’s Indonesian Krupuk Udang version is always a hit.

For large gatherings, it’s fun to get everyone involved. Two of our favorite ways are egg rolls and banh xeo. Everyone can make their own.

Lastly, there’s nothing that warms the soul quite like a bowl of noodles. These home-made Laotian style ones are a great way to finish off the meal. Kelly’s ka’piek noodles will do the trick.

We hope these recipes will help keep you and your family warm this winter. Thank you so much for visiting!